What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – January 8, 1995

-Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are from various locations since this Action Zone broadcast a collection of matches from different TV tapings.

Opening Contest:  King Kong Bundy (w/Ted DiBiase) (1-0) defeats The British Bulldog (2-0) due to a referee stoppage at 5:44:

This match is taped from Liberty, New York and the arena is very, very small.  If you were ever watch The Action Zone you will quickly notice the styles clash in commentary as Ross tries to call a match seriously and Pettengill is too busy making corny jokes.   For example, Pettengill spends part of the match singing the Million Dollar Corporation theme song and replacing “money” with “Bundy.”  The big moment of the match comes when the Bulldog slams Bundy after Bundy beats on him with some slow, plodding offense and the Bulldog suffers a “knee injury” after the attempt.  The loss ends the Bulldog’s three match winning streak – and two match winning streak in singles – while retaining Bundy’s unblemished mark on the road to the Royal Rumble.  Rating:  *

Kama is still riding his motorcycle in his vignettes.  He is coming soon!

Henry O. Godwinn pins Mike Moraldo after a Slop Drop at 2:40:

We get our first match of 1995 for Henry O. Godwinn, whose initials creatively spell HOG, who sports the gimmick of an Arkansas pig farmer that brings slop to the ring to dump on his opponents after matches.  Mark Canterbury, who played the gimmick, had a short tenure in WCW prior to coming to the WWF and he wrestled as a Texas cowboy named Shanghai Pierce.  Pettengill spends the entire squash making hog jokes and Godwinn finishes Moraldo after a Slop Drop (and rolling him over several times before he covers him because that is what a pig farmer does!).

Ross and Pettengill hype the 1995 Royal Rumble card.  We get a repeat of that horrible Diesel “name association” promo because having a seven foot monster act like a clown will get him over and pack the arenas real quick!  Bret’s counter promo is also sort of funny as he temporarily forgets what Diesel’s finisher is and has the head of an alien behind him.

Aldo Montoya beats Tony DeVito after a springboard flying bulldog off the second rope at 2:37:

The Montoya gimmick, of an athletic guy who wears a yellow mask that looks like a jockstrap, was given to Peter Polaco, who used to work as an enhancement talent under the ring name of PJ Walker.  Polaco was also a member of the Kliq, but he did not achieve anywhere near the same level of success in the company as the other four members.  Montoya runs through a few moves that are “high flying” for the pre-cruiserweight U.S. such as a slow hurricanrana or an armdrag off the ropes before finishing DeVito.

Call 1-900-454-4545 to have Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, or the Undertaker place a greeting call for you or tell a friend happy birthday.  This service can be yours for $9.95!

Pettengill and Ross discuss the progress of the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament.  The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly are hyped as a “Cinderella” team but defeating Well Dunn, who occupied some of the lowest pegs in the division, can hardly be classified as an upset.

Footage of Ted DiBiase chewing out Bam Bam Bigelow after Bigelow cost his team a match on this past week’s RAW is shown.

Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) (0-1) beat Chris Kanyon & Nick Barberry after Bigelow pins Barberry after a flying headbutt at 2:53:

Kanyon is not what you would consider your typical job talent as he is taller than both of his opponents and he actually gets to showcase some of his athletic abilities, even no selling a bodyslam from Bigelow before he tags in his lesser known partner, who Tatanka and Bigelow finish off with a combination of both of their finishers.  This helps the heels build momentum for their battle on Superstars against the Headshrinkers in the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament semi-finals.  And it is really strange that the WWF did not consider signing Kanyon to a contract after he showed some significant potential here.  Instead, Kanyon signed with WCW, who stuck him in a tag team called Men at Work with Mark Starr.

Kwang (w/Harvey Wippleman) defeats Chris Avery with a spinning heel kick at 1:27:

For some reason the WWF thought it was a great idea to take the future Savio Vega, who made a name for himself in the World Wrestling Council (WWC) as TNT, turn him into a Japanese-style martial artist, and think it was going to set the world on fire.  Avery tries to attack Kwang before the bell, something you usually do not see against a heel, but it is all for naught as a series of kicks finishing him off in short succession.

After the match, Wippleman steals the house mic from ring announcer Howard Finkel and berates his looks and skills.  This helps build up the looming Finkel-Wippleman tuxedo match on RAW.

Ray Rougeau interviews “Double J” Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie.  He hypes the non-existent “Ain’t I Great” tour and promises to win the Intercontinental championship from Razor Ramon at the Royal Rumble.

Non-Title Match:  Razor Ramon (Intercontinental Champion) pins Rich Myers after a Razor’s Edge at 2:35:

Most of Ramon’s squashes are the same:  he spends about a minute stretching the jobber, hits a high impact move (either his fall away slam or side suplex off the second rope), and then hits the Razor’s Edge to win.  This is no exception as Myers jobs to the suplex/Razor’s Edge variety in this bout.  Myers takes a nice bump off the Razor’s Edge, crumpling up like an accordion after taking the move.  Razor is now officially “ready” to face Owen Hart and defend his title on RAW, which will air live the next day.

Tune in next week to see Bam Bam Bigelow face the 1-2-3 Kid!

The Last Word:  This was a really bad mix of matches.  The Bundy-Bulldog opener leaves a poor taste in your mouth and then everything gradually gets worse for the first half of the show.  The remaining squashes get a little better, but it is really tough to care by that point.  It is very interesting, though, that the company was pushing King Kong Bundy so hard prior to the Royal Rumble.

Here was the lone bout on Wrestling Challenge as there was a great deal of blend between Action Zone and Wrestling Challenge matches:

Adam Bomb beats Dwayne Gill with the Atom Smasher at 2:49:

Bomb was someone that should have gotten a stronger push in 1995.  He was very athletic for a big man, but the problem is that he was swamped by the face-dominated side of the roster that had more notable acts such as Diesel, Bret Hart, the British Bulldog, and Lex Luger.  Bomb’s ring attire is pretty hideous, though, as it’s yellow and green attire that reminds someone of an overactive mucus membrane.  Squashes are tailor made for someone like Bomb and he runs through some power moves before finishing the future Gillberg without breaking much of a sweat.

To kick off 1995, the WWF was doing a lot of house show work near the Canadian border and the Southwest.  The company’s “A” crew did tours in the North while the “B” crew handled dates in Texas and New Mexico.  Here are the results of some of those shows (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Tingley Coliseum – January 6, 1995:  Bob Holly pinned Henry Godwinn…Duke Droese beat Mantaur…Lex Luger wrestled Tatanka to a double count out…Aldo Montoya defeated the Brooklyn Brawler…The New Headshrinkers beat Well Dunn…Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon defeated Jeff Jarrett.

Green Bay, Wisconsin – January 7, 1995 (6,000 fans in attendance):  The Bushwhackers defeated the Heavenly Bodies…Hakushi beat the 1-2-3 Kid…King Kong Bundy defeated Adam Bomb…WWF Champion Diesel beat Bob Backlund (w/Shawn Michaels)…Doink beat Kwang…The British Bulldog defeated Owen Hart…The Undertaker beat IRS.  After the match, the Undertaker was attacked by King Kong Bundy.

Backstage News*:  As the WWF kicked off 1995, there was a lot of anxiety about low crowds on the house show circuit.  Draws were poor in California and Pat Patterson was being blamed for pushing for Bob Backlund to get the WWF title at the end of 1995.  Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer wrote on January 9 that the company was even thinking of getting the WWF title off of Diesel as soon as possible, with the idea of moving it to Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels by WrestleMania XI.

*The WWF was searching for a black superstar and Kama might be the answer to that dilemma.

*The company will be using Pamela Anderson to promote the Royal Rumble and Vince McMahon was hoping to use Baywatch to promote the WWF brand by getting several superstars on future episodes of the show.  However, that pitch was rejected by Baywatch producers.

*News items are credited to the January 9, 1995 and January 16, 1995 editions of The Wrestling Observer.

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW for January 9!